The crew onboard Endeavour was awakened at 7:17 a.m. CST this morning by the song “Here Comes the Sun”, in memory of former Beatle George Harrison, who recently died of cancer. The instrumental was from the IMAX movie, “Everest”. The song was played for the Expedition Three Crewmembers, Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin. The crew was allowed to sleep in for an extra hour with a relatively light day of activities in store.
Today’s agenda for the shuttle crew – Commander Dom Gorie, Pilot Mark Kelly, and Mission Specialists Dan Tani and Linda Godwin – will focus on packing up the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics module with unneeded equipment and supplies for the return flight home. Raffaello will be detached from the Unity module of the International Space Station tomorrow and reberthed in Endeavour’s cargo bay for its ride back to Earth. Endeavour is currently scheduled to undock from the station on Saturday morning, with landing planned for early Monday afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center.
The Expedition Three crew will also continue handover activities with the Expedition Four crew – Commander Yury Onufrienko, and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz.
A ceremony to mark the change of command from Culbertson to Onufrienko will take place at 3:09 p.m. CST. Culbertson, in his 125th day in space, will formally hand command of the space station on to Onufrienko, it’s newest commander. The official crew exchange occurred Saturday, December 8 with the transfer of Soyuz seatliners for each crew member. Today’s event continues the tradition begun by Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd in March of this year, when he relinquished command of the ISS to Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev.
With the crew completing the stowage of Raffaello for the trip home, work to replace a faulty compressor in an air conditioner unit in the Zvezda Service Module was deferred until tomorrow morning, concurrent with the closing of the hatch to the Raffaello module prior to its detachment from the ISS.
The next STS-108 mission status report will be issued about 6 p.m. today or as events warrant.
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